LOOK BACK IN TIME: 15 March 1856

The Isle of Wight Observer published on 15th March 1856, included a letter from an Islander very upset with the charges levied by the Ryde Gas Company.

According to Wightpedia a gas company was established in Ryde in 1838 and the town’s streets were first lit with gas in November of that year. In 1845 the company was registered as ‘The Registered Ryde Gas & Coke Company’ and 1866 it was incorporated as The Ryde Gas Light Company. At the start of 1923, the Brading Harbour and District Company merged with the Ryde Gas-light Company which was nationalised in 1949 and became part of the Southern Gas Board. The gas works in Ryde were closed in 1957 when a new facility was built at Kingston in East Cowes to supply the whole island.

To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer

Sir,- Another week has passed and no explanation has been vouchsafed by the Directors of the Ryde Gas Company to the consumers. I say, sir, unless I am convinced to the contrary by some statement, that consumers have a right to assume that they are deliberately robbed. Do the directors hold that we are unworthy of regard, except on quarter days? If they can explain why (as in my own case) double was charged this last quarter compared with the corresponding one last year, and when I know for several nights I had no gas at all, and at other times but little and that inferior, I maintain they are bound to do so. If they cannot offer any explanation, as honest men they have no right to extort such abominable overcharges. Should no notice be taken of these well-founded and extraordinary complaints, I would suggest that a meeting should be called to take into consideration the best means to obtains redress. I think the ratepayers ought to know whether any and what deduction was made to the town lately for the nights of darkness and for the frequent short-comings in the 3in. batwing burners contracted for, as town expenditure must be watched, or ruin will follow.